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Trends Genet. 2008 Jun;24(6):280-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 May 3.

Cracking the RNA polymerase II CTD code.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK.


The carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II comprises multiple tandem conserved heptapeptide repeats, unique to this eukaryotic RNA polymerase. This unusual structure provides a docking platform for factors involved in various co-transcriptional events. Recruitment of the appropriate factors at different stages of the transcription cycle is achieved through changing patterns of post-translational modification of the CTD repeats, which create a readable 'code'. A new phosphorylation mark both expands the CTD code and provides the first example of a CTD signal read in a gene type-specific manner. How and when is the code written and read? How does it contribute to transcription and coordinate RNA processing?

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